Sutherland on song as Woods strays off track

Kevin Sutherland and Tiger Woods were both unsure whether to come to the Canadian Open. After the first round, only one was glad he had.

Kevin Sutherland and Tiger Woods were both unsure whether to come to the Canadian Open. After the first round, only one was glad he had.

Sutherland, whose wife gave birth to their first child 10 days ago, decided to play only at the last minute, but produced his best opening round of the year, a seven-under 65 at Glen Abbey Golf Club to take a one-stroke lead over Cameron Beckman on Thursday.

Woods, meanwhile, was in unfamiliar territory - in the trees, in the water, behind a television tower, next to a hospitality tent, and far removed from the leaders. A two-putt birdie on the 18th gave him a 72, and just maintained his run of 36 rounds at par or better.

Woods said: "Golf is a fickle game. There are times you struggle and still post a good score. Other times, you play beautifully and don't shoot anything. Today was a mixture of both."

Sergio Garcia, who beat Woods in a TV exhibition last week, was tied with Sutherland at seven under until a couple of sloppy bogeys dropped him to 67. Garcia was joined by the Canadian-born Brian Watts, J L Lewis and Jesper Parnevik, who made birdies on four of the last five holes.

This is the last tournament of a memorable summer for Woods, who became the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to take three straight majors, culminating in a thrilling victory in a play-off at the PGA Championship.

Under warm, sunny skies, early finishers had predicted that he would waste little time working his way toward the lead. For a while, they were right. "All of a sudden, it kind of went south," Woods said.

He was three under after eight holes when his game unravelled, starting with a three-putt from 20 feet on the ninth. Woods pulled his drive into the trees on the 11th and tried to play out of the rough and over the trees to the green, which is guarded by water. But his shot went into the pond, leading to his first double-bogey since the 12th hole of the third round in the PGA Championship.

Woods hooked his second shot into the par-five 13th behind a TV tower to lose his chance for a birdie, then missed the next green and took a bogey. He also failed to birdie the par-five 16th when his approach from the rough sailed over the green into a bunker.

The last time Woods played in the Canadian Open, in 1997, he missed the cut at Royal Montreal - the only time he has done so in his PGA Tour career.

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